Sunday 16 December 2018
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Nicola Sturgeon urged to ‘put business first’ and get behind Brexit deal

The UK Government has called on Nicola Sturgeon to put Scottish business first and support the Prime Minister s Brexit deal.Cabinet Office minister and Mrs May s de facto deputy David Lidington said he hopes political differences can be put aside to support a package he believes delivers for jobs and investment.Mr Lidington met with members of the financial sector in Edinburgh on Friday, but he said a request for talks with Scottish ministers had been declined.He told journalists: Overall this is a package that will work for the prosperity and security of everybody in Scotland and the whole of the UK. I think there will be an important choice for the Scottish Government and for Scottish MPs at Westminster employers in all sectors want a deal and they want the stability and the certainty and the clarity that that will bring. I hope very much that despite the political differences which do exist, and which I respect, that the First Minister will in the end decide to put the interests of Scottish business and living standards and prosperity in Scotland first and support this deal. We ve done our part. We ll continue to listen to the views of the Scottish and Welsh governments, to engage with them as we have been doing in recent days, weeks and months, and to ensure their interests are represented and defended in negotiations. David Lidington was speaking to the media in Edinburgh (Andrew Milligan/PA)Ms Sturgeon said the offer of a meeting had come at short notice and she was not willing to cancel other commitments to yet again have to hear empty platitudes .She tweeted: My office got a call around 6pm last night to offer a meeting this morning purpose not clear. I wasn t prepared to cancel my constituency commitments at such short notice for @scotgov to yet again have to hear empty platitudes rather than be listened to. The First Minister had told a meeting of business people in Glasgow on Thursday of her concern that making special provisions for Northern Ireland in the Brexit deal would leave Scotland at a competitive disadvantage.Responding, Mr Lidington said: I think it s an exaggerated fear. Neither the UK, nor the Irish Government, nor the EU 27 want the backstop ever to be used. They want it kept as an insurance policy.It was great to hear from the First Minister at our annual dinner tonight, and to grab some selfies with her as well! FSB Scotland (@FSB_Scotland) November 15, 2018 The key thing is to get the future UK-EU partnership sorted as rapidly as possible so the backstop is never brought into operation, or if it is, it s for a very short time indeed. Mr Lidington said Northern Ireland is already different to Scotland in a number of regulatory aspects.He gave the example of animal health, where livestock going from Scotland to Northern Ireland already has to go through checks at the port of Larne. What we are suggesting, in the interests of a compromise, is to enhance the sorts of checks that are already there, he said. And we do have to bear in mind that Northern Ireland is still in a fragile process of peace-building after decades of conflict, and the Irish border is the only land border between the UK and another EU member state. The legacy of the border there is one that has huge political symbolism and importance, it s not just economic importance. (function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i[ GoogleAnalyticsObject ]=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document, script , // , ga ); ga( create , UA-72310761-1 , auto , { name : pacontentapi }); ga( pacontentapi.set , referrer , location.origin); ga( pacontentapi.set , dimension1 , By Lucy Christie, Press Association Scotland ); ga( pacontentapi.set , dimension2 , e07fe7e3-96b6-42c2-8e0f-e7607e63c003 ); ga( pacontentapi.set , dimension3 , paservice:news,paservice:news:uk ); ga( pacontentapi.set , dimension6 , story ); ga( pacontentapi.set , dimension7 , composite ); ga( pacontentapi.set , dimension8 , null); ga( pacontentapi.set , dimension9 , null); ga( pacontentapi.send , pageview , { location : location.href, page : (location.pathname + + location.hash), title : Nicola Sturgeon urged to u2018put business first u2019 and get behind Brexit deal });

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